Imatge de l'autor
26+ obres 18,123 Membres 375 Ressenyes 45 preferits

Sobre l'autor

Nassim Nicholas Taleb was born in 1960 in Amioun, Lebanon. He is a researcher, essayist, trader, epistemologist, and former practitioner of mathematical finance. Taleb received his bachelors and masters degree in science from the University of Paris. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the mostra'n més University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in Management Science from the University of Paris- Dauphine. Taleb began his financial mathematics career in several of New York City's Wall Street firms before becoming a scholar in the epistemology of chance events, randomness, and the unknown. Taleb's book, Fooled by Randomness, was translated into 23 languages. His book, The Black Swan, was translated into 27 languages and spent several months on the New York Times Bestseller list. Taleb is a Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at Polytechnic Institute of New York University and visiting professor of Marketing (Cognitive Science) at London Business School. Taleb has also taught at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Courant Institute of New York University, and the Wharton Business School Financial Institutions Center. His title Bed of Procrustes made the N.Y. Times Bestseller List for 2010 and his title Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder made The 2012 New York Times Bestseller List. mostra'n menys


Obres de Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable (2007) 8,685 exemplars, 198 ressenyes
Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (2012) 2,902 exemplars, 80 ressenyes
Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life (2018) 1,174 exemplars, 24 ressenyes
Silent Risk 2 exemplars

Obres associades

The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity (1976) — Pròleg, algunes edicions316 exemplars, 13 ressenyes


Coneixement comú



The Black Swan a Philosophy and Theory (juny 2007)


I’ve actually only read this book as the Blinkist summary and the review is really made mainly for myself help me focus and recall. So it’s slightly unfair to the author of the full book, which, I’m sure has a lot more detail. Anyway, the summary was enough for me to get a reasonable handle on what the book is about and I’m not rushing out to invest in the full book. Here are some extracts from the Blinkist summary that grabbed my interest:
We are all frequently fooled by randomness, meaning that we underestimate the impact of luck and random events on our lives. We use terms like “skills”, and “determinism” when “luck” and “randomness” are called for. Nowhere is this discrepancy more evident than in the stock market, where “capable investor” should usually be substituted with “lucky idiot”.
Consider for example a cohort of 10,000 investors who, are relatively incompetent: each year they only have a 45% chance of being profitable.......after 5 years based on probabilities alone we can expect almost 200 of them to have been profitable every year. [I’ve seen this sort of example a number of times but it always impresses me. Hard not to bt to be impressed by somebody who’s been a winner for 15 years straight and who appears on talk shows talking about how he does it]. Wall Street has seen many traders, who after years of success have one devastating quarter where they lose everything...We often mistake luck and randomness for skill and the basis of all empirical science is a process called induction: we infer things about the nature of the world based on our observations.
Unfortunately, this approach carries an inherent problem, illustrated by the famous example of black swans as stated by philosopher John Stuart Mill:...the observation of a single black swan is sufficient to refute that conclusion”......This is known as the problem of induction, and it means no theory can ever be proved right, only wrong (by a single “black swan”). It used to be a popular logical statement that “all swans are white”.....until black swans were found in Australia and Mill was born in 1806, well after Australia was settled by the British].
Always consider the possibility that your theories and assumptions may be proved wrong, and examine how such a development would affect your share portfolio.......
Yet wherever people are involved, like in the stock market, there will be constant change through adaptation. For example, if stock prices always rose on Mondays, rational investors would all buy stocks on Sundays, thus changing the market dynamic and eliminating the effect.
We can never be sure any theory is right–things constantly change and the next observation may prove us wrong. On average, the fittest organisms will survive. A few lucky unfit organisms will usually also endure, at least in the short term......The same is true for many things in life. This is called a path dependent outcome: if we were to start from scratch, we would not wind up with a QWERTY-keyboard again.
When enough people started using Microsoft products, it created a positive feedback loop, where new customers bought Microsoft products precisely because everyone they knew was already using them. After a product has passed the tipping point, it is in a very strong position.......In real life though, an incremental change can have a huge impact: a single grain of sand can cause the entire castle to tumble.
Life is unfair and non-linear: The best do not always win.
Despite what we may believe, our mind is not a sophisticated thinking-machine, but rather a patchwork of rules and shortcuts called heuristics....Unfortunately, the price we pay for using these lazy shortcuts is that our reasoning becomes irrational and marred by what psychologists call biases. For example, due to attribution bias, we tend to disproportionately ascribe successes to our own abilities, and failures to “bad luck”.
Our thinking also becomes path dependent...For instance, if you were to win $5 million today and lose $4 million tomorrow, you would likely be much less happy than if you simply won $1 million tomorrow, although the end result is identical.
Path dependency also means we cling to our existing opinions. From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense that we get attached to things we have invested a lot of time and effort into.....Our reasoning is context-dependent and mostly based on simple heuristics.
Some researchers believe emotions are the true shortcuts in our decision-making process, the “lubricants of reason”. Without emotions to give us that little irrational nudge, we would agonize endlessly over the slightest decisions.....Emotions are fundamentally irrational precisely to stop us from temporizing......Neurobiologists have found evidence to support the notion that we feel emotions first, then try to rationalize an explanation for them. This means emotions have a stronger influence on rational thinking than the other way around. Emotions can help us make decisions, but also overwhelm our capacity for rational reasoning.
Learning from history does not come naturally to humans.
This is due to hindsight bias: in retrospect, earlier events always seem more predictable than they really were at the time. If any past data is sufficiently analyzed, it is inevitable some pattern will emerge from it: one author even claimed that he could find predictions for past world events simply by examining statistical irregularities in the Bible.
Like our ancestors who divined the future by examining bird entrails, we tend to naturally find patterns and causal relationships where there may not be any......Of course, unleashing modern computing power on a large amount of data will inevitably uncover many such rules, but the past “success” of these rules is due to pure randomness, and whoever blindly believes in them is likely to have their portfolio annihilated.
In retrospect, we always find patterns, causes and explanations in past events, but they are mostly useless for predicting the future......When hedge funds report losses, they often refer to large and “unexpected” events, factors......These statements ignore the fact that things which have never happened before actually happen all the time, and are always unexpected.
For example, early climate researchers removed the largest temperature spikes in their data because they thought them unlikely to occur. But in fact these spikes added disproportionately to climate change, an outcome the resultant climate model failed to anticipate. .....Experienced investors fall into this trap, and in fact many traders who enjoyed a short-lived success used trading strategies where they won small sums often, but subsequently lost large amounts all at once.
We are inherently poor at understanding the impact of rare events. While generally it is sensible to be hyper-rational when dealing with science and finances, one can gladly be fooled by randomness when it comes to art and poetry......As the Yiddish say, “If I must eat pork, it had better be the best kind.” Similarly, if we must be fooled by randomness, it had better be the beautiful, harmless kind.
All of us are sometimes the victims of adversity caused by harmful randomness (an unexpected cancer diagnosis is a prime example).....In such an event, the code of conduct we should follow is provided by stoicism. [I must confess that this sudden twist to philosophical thinking took me by surprise.....but I guess it is one way aof managing with randomness]. Today’s information environment is so cluttered with useless news, the cost of wading through all of them by far exceeds the cost of missing those few truly valuable items.
Though Bloomberg journalists may try to interpret and explain every miniscule movement, stock prices actually fluctuate quite disconnectedly from the fundamentals they are supposed to reflect......In the short term most movements are merely random noise.
Consider how this affects an investor following her stock portfolio, which for argument’s sake has 10% volatility and 15% expected returns......If she checks her portfolio every minute,
she can expect to experience 60, 688 minutes of pleasure versus 60,271 of pain.
If, on the other hand, she checks her portfolio annually, she can expect to feel pleasure 19 out of 20 years. Eventually her returns are the same either way, the minute-to-minute updates will leave the investor emotionally drained, since losses always sting more than
profits please. Both in the media and stock markets, random noise is not worth listening to.
The key message in this book is:
We are all fooled by randomness, but frequently misinterpret it as something deterministic.
We often mistake luck and randomness for skill and determinism. We can never be sure any theory is right–things constantly change and the next observation may prove us wrong. Life is unfair and non-linear: The best do not always win.
My take on the book. Whilst I was familiar with most of the arguments presented, it was an entertaining and useful refresher and made me think about introducing it to my grandkids. Happy to give it four stars.
… (més)
booktsunami | Hi ha 60 ressenyes més | Jul 5, 2024 |
It starts with an interesting idea: That an overprotective system of any kind, in trying to immunize itself to risks, loses its adaptability and when an unforeseen event occurs (and that is a matter of when, not if), its destruction is higher that if the system had been allowed to take small hits and adapted slowly.

And that's it.

After stating the case clearly in the beginning, the rest 500 pages are an unedited mess of notes and graphs writen in napkins ranting against any kind of intellectualism. To do so Taleb jumps from unrelated anecdotes to stretched metaphores building two main arguments:

- That he is a philosopher in the shape of a bodyguard (really. I do not make that up). Only Seneca is his equal and only himself may understand Seneca's texts.

- That formal learning and analysis are not only useless but harmful. From Economics to Medicine.

This book is written quite poorly. It lacks structure and in most of the "napkin's notes", the logic is puerile. I found very odd that the author uses standard "name dropping", but the names used are classical Greek and Roman characters. Taleb likes to put his opinions as proof without any reasoning behind (which is actually the message of the book: go with your guts and do not second-guess yourself). He also likes to invent words to convince that it is a new concept never thought before.

However, there have been several ideas that I have liked. His main point is just Darwinism: the goal is not to be strong, it is to be adaptable.

He makes a very good point on noise. The huge amount of useless information and that the deeper you get on anything, the exponentially higher level of noise you get.

I agree on his view that to be healthy the way is to make the body strong by activity and avoid tampering with it artificially as much as possible. He takes the case to levels I am not comfortable, such as advocating against cancer treatment.

I have liked very much his respect and defence of the small business and of the individual entrepeneur.

But I have not found the book thought-provocative in any sense. After an exciting beginning I had 500 pages of "meh". So if you want the good and avoid the bad of this book, I suggest that you go to any bookshop, grab it and read the first 20 pages. Put the book back to the shelf, and leave. You got all you needed from this tome.

… (més)
cdagulleiro | Hi ha 79 ressenyes més | Jul 3, 2024 |
To be honest, a long book that talks about one point: you can’t predict everything and our prediction tools currently are obsolete. Taleb laid down some great points about uncertainties, like how we always underestimate the unknown and overestimate what we know, and that you should be prepared for Black Swan rather than trying to guess what’s gonna happen. I think that all prediction tools and models are plain wrong, but some are useful. The author has a great point but the way he presents his idea and personal emotion to that idea is a bit extreme. Should be an article but interesting read nonetheless.… (més)
heolinhdam | Hi ha 197 ressenyes més | Jun 25, 2024 |
In short: don’t use the wrong tools for the wrong job, don’t use Gaussian and/or Mandelbrotian distributions for mapping randomness.

You cannot know uncertainty, you cannot assign a number to it.

This book is rather philosophical, it reads “I wrote a book for money”. Why? Because he bashes everyone and subjects himself to the same confirmation bias for what I suspect to be marketing purposes.

If he was such a great author, why didn’t he publish with some examples from his own career, how he made money, explaining the maths and strategy in laymen’s terms?

You are a master when you can explain in plain words what you preach, whereas this book wreaks of technicalities, but only on a superficial level. Why?

He mentions that people that give positive advice are charlatans (comission) and the ones that give negative (omission) are the right kind. According to whom? What makes the author better than the rest?

When people ask for advice, give it, you owe that to them, especially since they paid for the book, right?

If a business man comes to you seeking advice, sit him down, show him the usual way, and your way, with arguments, not “just don’t predict”.

Unfortunatelly, although great, you need to read the technical incerto and other books to be able do derive something practical from this book. Because of that, 3 stars.
… (més)
gabrielrondelli | Hi ha 197 ressenyes més | Jun 2, 2024 |



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